Tag: Design

01 Mar 2019
5 Basics Everyone Needs to Create a Website

5 Website Basics Everyone Needs

Website basics, if you know these it’ll make your life easier! If you are thinking of creating a website yourself or wondering what basic items designers will use to create a website for you, this is for you. There are 5 main items that every website needs to have in order to be a true marketing asset. Whether you work with a design firm, a freelancer, or you create these aspects yourself, you will want to make sure this checklist is covered before you launch your new website. While this isn’t a comprehensive list (different websites might have additional things they need) this covers the basics everyone needs.

Goals. What is the goal of the website, your company, sales, etc. You don’t have to have a ton of goals (I do, but I’m an overachiever), but you should have at least a couple. Know what you are trying to achieve with the website and how it applies and helps your business and it’s goals. Is it sharing your story? Attracting tons of traffic? Selling lots of widgets? Answering peoples questions? Providing services? Setting the goals will help you get the right website made, even if it’s just you doing it.

Brand and Content. You need a brand, even if it’s just a color, a font, and a logo. Most graphic designers would cringe hearing this, but with my design background I also understand entrepreneurs and the start-up process. Now that you have a brand (or the start of one) you’ll also need your written content!

Product, Service, or Both. It doesn’t matter what combination you have here, you need to know what you are are providing to your visitors. It doesn’t have to be paid, it could be free, but what is your product or service? What does it do, how does it help the visitor? Make sure these things are at least loosely defined before creating a website. If you end up adjusting and editing during the process, don’t worry that happens. Should it happen, just make sure you know the basics of what you are providing to your visitors. Being clear about you are offering, be it products or services. The choice can determine if you need an ecommerce website or not. Knowing this is very important as the complexity can change quite a bit when you add ecommerce to your website.

Target Market. Who’s this site for? Tall people, short people, sick people healthy people? This matters because it will help define the content and also tells you about how the content should be made, the type of content, where you’ll want to get your website listed, etc. A good place to start if you don’t have a target already is to define one. I suggest starting with a niche, which I talked about in Defining Your Niche – Why it Matters

Budget and Timeline. So, even if you are doing this yourself, you need a budget and a timeline. We’ve talked about these before in 3 Must Haves When Creating a Project Timeline and Time, Budgets & Luxury Any project without a timeline is a project destined to never get done, or at least not this year. Budget zero? Well, it’ll be really hard to get a website up, but there are some places you can create a free site. These options will make it super apparent that you are using the free one because you don’t have a domain and their company branding is all over your website. Because of this it can be a good start, but you’ll want to move on quickly. Budget and timeline become even more important when working with professionals. The benefit is they will help you determine what kind of help you can get and in what time-frame.

If you have these five basics planned when you start creating your website you will be setting yourself up for success. I like success and I’m sure you do to, so make sure to spend the time putting some basic info together for each of these. Even if you are just wanting a quote, any designer giving you a good quote will need these items and possibly a few more details specific to your site in order to publish it completely. 

23 Feb 2019
3 Steps to Grow Your Brand Peterman Design Firm Blog

3 Steps to Grow Your Brand

So, you’ve got your brand. It’s beautiful, you love it, it resonates with your customers, and most of the time, your designer has walked away. Now you want to build your brand from just the core that it is now and get it out there. Some people will tell you that “building your brand” isn’t necessary, mostly people who want to sell you advertising. Others will tell you that your brand needs to grow your brand and build a presence with it, mostly people who do branding or social media work. I personally believe both are needed, it isn’t just about advertising to build your brand and there’s more to it than just designing a cool brand. So let’s discuss a couple ways to grow your brand and why they are beneficial.

Create Content – Number one most important thing is to create content and not just any content, some combination of useful and entertaining content. You can do this a number of ways, from blogging to posting on social media, to podcasts, and more. Just find the right places that you enjoy sharing your content and start getting it out there. I’d recommend that if you do hire this out you have a very comprehensive conversation with whoever is doing it to make sure the “voice” they use matches or is close to your own and matches your company brand. Content is great because it can be what you give away for free, attracts new and interested customers, and keeps you relevant, as well as being great for SEO when used properly.

Engage – Just posting on your Facebook page doesn’t cut it any more, in fact I don’t think it ever did, people just somehow got it in there head that posting on social media means people will magically see what they post. You need to get your brand out there, interact with current, future, and past customers. Engage on forums, different social media platforms, answering questions, putting out valuable and relatable content that your customers are interested in. None of this is to sell, just to provide value and get your name out there. This will get you found by people you might never reach with advertising and shows that you are actually interested in what you do, not just there to make money.

Build Referrals & Partnerships – You can do this through your customer base and through networking with other people and companies to build your own referral network. Building partnerships is also a great way to get your brand to grow. Finding an established company who’s willing to partner with you can give your own brand a lot of strength as people will see you with a known brand. Keep in mind when you do this that you are only attaching your name to companies whose brand aligns with yours and who you know won’t damage your brand. This is a long term reward process and you may not see this paying out for a couple years, but I know several companies who started super small and because they invested heavily in referrals and partnerships now do basically no marketing or advertising because they have a constant stream of business from their customer referrals and other partnerships. This also gets your brand out there through real people, which often carries more weight than other ways.

If you follow these three steps to building your brand you’ll find your brand growing as quickly as you want it to. A brand is important and it’s just as important that you grow it after you have it.

15 Feb 2019
Product to Market No Money or Experience

How to Get a Product to Market Without Money or Experience?

The answer is time, a lot of time. There are three resources to any project. Money, Experience (Skills), and Time. At least one of these has to exist in a large quantity to overcome a lacking by any of the other two. The most successful products have at least 2 of these in a good amount, but there are also plenty of products that are created using only one resource to start.
 
So what do you do if you don’t have money or experience, but you are willing to take the time to create your product? Well, here’s the formula.
 
First, you’ll need skills and experience. This can either come from a co-founder or by you learning those skills yourself. You might ask, “why don’t you just go get funding first and spend time on that”? Well, it’s because almost no one buys, invests, or steals just ideas. They aren’t valuable enough. You have to create value before someone will invest capital. The best way to do that is to create a working prototype of your product, whether that’s an app, a mechanical product, or an electronics design. To do that, you need the skills and experience to create that prototype, a co-founder/partner who has the skills, or the money to pay someone else to do it. Finding a co-founder that’s willing to jump in at the very beginning is like finding a needle in a haystack. Possible, and we all cheer for the one who does it, but most people don’t find the perfect person to help them right at the beginning.
 
Getting a prototype that would be convincing enough to get funding has, in my experience, cost anywhere from $10,000 all the way up to $50,000 on average. Plus you might want to get a patent in there too. If you don’t have that kind of budget, then you’ll need to build your own prototype, which will still cost some money, and create a proof of concept.
 
Once you have that prototype, which could take you years instead of months to create by yourself, then you’ll be ready to start spending your time getting investments to move the product forward. There is no way to bring a product to market without cash from somewhere, even if you have a great idea. That money will go to marketing, sales, and production. While you could try to get a larger company to pick up your idea, keep in mind that they have teams of people coming up with ideas with huge R&D budgets.
 
If you want success, your best bet is to create a prototype, get funding, and launch a company. It’s much easier to sell a successful product and company than to get someone to buy a product that has no proven market. Not that it can’t happen, because it definitely does, but the chance of success is not as high. Some people will tell you that luck is a part of this, I’d disagree. Be persistent and enjoy the journey. Even if it takes years of working on it as you have time and money to do so, stick with it. Your idea is important as long as you enjoy it. Happy inventing! 

19 Jan 2018

7 Questions to Ask Before Starting a “Rush” Job

Are you in a rush? There are key advantages to paying for expedited service in the product development world, but over using the magical term “it’s a rush job” won’t do you any good if you can’t back it up. When you tell your developer or designer that you have a rush job for them, you should know a few things about the process, and how it will impact your project. Some developers love them, some don’t do them. Knowing what it means for your developer when you say your project is a rush job, will help make sure things go smoothly, and everything gets delivered on time and to spec. Here are some answers you need to rush your project successfully:
 
Is it really a rush job?
 
Make sure this is really a rush job for you. What are the driving factors that are making you want to set your project as a rush job? Talk with your developer, and make sure deadlines are understood. It might be that you thought it would be a rush job, and it isn’t. Don’t just call it a rush job if you are afraid your project won’t be taken seriously or done on time. Great developers always deliver on time or keep you apprised of any delays. In my firm, “rush” means drop everything and rush to get the project complete,  and we charge accordingly.
 
Do you have the funds and can pay immediately?
 
Most developers and designers that have any long term contracting experience require at least 75% up front to even begin the work. In a rush they are putting other clients on hold and pushing themselves and their team harder than normal to deliver what you need when you need it. If you are not ready to pay for expedited services up front you will be delaying your own project timeline.
 
Are you available for quick and frequent communication?
 
You are asking that your developer drop what they are doing and rush to take care of you. When you do that, the most frustrating thing you can do is take forever to respond or give edits, or be unresponsive at all. If you are not available to respond as quickly as possible to your developer, you are going to slow the project down, and show your developer that you do not actually view the project as a priority.
 
Do you have a scope of work?
 
This is absolutely necessary when working with rush jobs. Because the project is being rushed, you don’t want to waste your time or your developers. Making sure you have a list of changes, edits, and/or deliverables before you even mention the word rush to your developer is very important. During any job and (especially with rush jobs) if it isn’t in writing it’s not going to happen. Read our other blog here on creating an effective scope of work.
 
Do you have all materials ready to give to your developer?
 
Make sure you have more than everything you think your developer might need. You should do this with any project, but when it is a rush job time matters even more and your developer will be impressed and appreciative if you can produce everything they ask for quickly. Using a file sharing service is often a great idea as you can put everything they might need in one “folder” and share it with them.
 
Does your developer do rush jobs?
 
An important question that you might not necessarily think of to ask. Some developers I’ve worked with don’t do rush jobs at all, for which there are many reasons. Sometimes it’s a matter of schedule, or maybe they have a rush job already this week and are busy, even though they’d love to do it. It’s very important to make sure they really can squeeze your project in on your timeline. Especially with less experienced developers, their eyes can be larger than their stomach so to speak.
 
Are you committed to your project?
With any rush job, you are setting a high level of expectation and commitment from your developer. You should match them. If you loose focus, start to change the project, or give other signs that you aren’t committed, those are red flags to your developer that it isn’t really a rush job, and they might not take it as seriously as you want them to.
 
 
Getting your design services expedited will no doubt help you capture revenue opportunities. In order for your rush to be a success make sure you are as committed and prepared as your developer/ design team.

06 Jan 2018

5 Ways to Use Concepting (Ideation) Effectively with Your Designer

Concepting as a step in the design process that actually happens twice. The first concepting step is your original idea. The second time (which is usually when you hire a product developer/designer) is during ideation which happens before refining that idea into your final concept.  Ideation is a crucial point in the creative development of a product. Ideation is the process of taking a single idea, and expanding upon it through a process of exploration and concept generation. For design firms, this usually means taking a clients’ idea or problem and generating a series of concepts or ideas that are usually at the sketch level. We define a sketch level concept as something that is either a traditional sketch, a foam model, or a quick 3D model that shows the concept concisely. Details are usually low as it’s only goal is to convey an idea, not to go to production with the sketch. This phase of the design process generates the largest amount of ideas, which are always cut down during the review process. Here are 5 things to keep in mind while successfully going through the concept steps with your product developer.
 

  1. Have your documents together. Any sketches, descriptions, images, reference images of similar products, and anything else that might help describe your idea. It may seem silly to have to put this here, but without having this together at the start, it slows the process down.

 

  1. Give your designer edits for each review session. Almost every ideation process includes several rounds of ideation, where concepts are narrowed down, before more are created. To help with this, make sure you’ve spent plenty of time reviewing the concepts. Also, the best form of communication is visual. Red-lining and marking up the concepts that were presented to you and sending them to your designer before the meeting gives them time to review and think about your thoughts before discussing the concepts.

 

  1. Quantity vs Quality. At the start of the ideation process, quantity can sometimes be preferred to quality when the project is not narrowly defined. Usually this switches through the process where at the start you want lots of concepts, and then by the end, you are working with only a few concepts that are approaching final quality. This doesn’t mean that the initial ideas are low quality necessarily, but that less time is put into each one to give a wide spread of ideas to work with at the start.

 

  1. Know your why. While it’s commonly expected for a product developer or designer to be able to explain why for their thoughts and ideas, you should know yours too. Being able to communicate why you want to change something, or why you think a certain feature should be there will help your developer to understand and will help guide them toward the product that will fit your needs. Without a why, it can easily just become a feature that the designer works around, instead of fully understanding its why. This limits your developers ability to create the most effective product.

 

  1. Clear communication. This I can’t stress enough. It doesn’t mean having the best sketches, or CAD, or being able to write like a bestselling author. It means making sure your thoughts are communicated to the designer, and that you make sure we understand you. Sometimes things don’t click the first time for a developer, we won’t be insulted if you give more information and explain things in a couple ways before a project starts. It’s important that you are comfortable with the level of understanding your product developer has. Because if they don’t understand fully, it automatically causes there to be some mistakes built into the process, which we always want to avoid. It’s your job to make sure we understand you. It’s also the job of a good developer to make sure they understand your idea. When both of those things happen, then everyone can walk away knowing that the idea is understood, and no time will be wasted going down the wrong path.

 
If you follow these 5 things, you’ll be making the most of the ideation/concepting process that you’ll go through in developing your product. Having this process go smoothly will help set the tone for the rest of the project, and keep things moving along nicely.

30 Dec 2017
5 Stages of Product Development Peterman Design Firm Blog

5 Stages of Product Development You Need to Know

We’ve talked a lot about how product development is a process, but what does it really mean? What is this seemingly mysterious process that every product goes through at least part of? When most people have an idea, they think it’s completely out of reach for them to bring their idea to life. It’s not, it just takes finding the right partner who can navigate you through the process of developing an idea into a product that will help people and make you money. What could be a better result of your hard work? Here I’d like to lay out the overall process of Product Development. This example is generic to make sure you learn about each area of the process so you have an understanding of  everything your product designer must be able to help you with for it to be worth your time and money to hire them.

Step 1 – Invent

  • The very, very first step in Product Development is having an idea. Millions of ideas are generated every day by people all over the world. This is probably the “easiest” part. Everything after this point takes making decisions and taking timely action. While you have the first idea, you also need a Product Developer who has ideas and can generate new ones that will help support your idea on its path to becoming a successful product.
  • Once you have an idea, whether you do this first or with your Product Developer, you should validate the idea and determine its market. Is there a need for the product and does it solve a problem are two very important questions. Then, who would use this product? Does it help seniors, children, cubical workers, sports teams, or someone else? This helps you and your developer to understand what needs to be designed into the product, and what shouldn’t be in the product to appeal to your best market.
  • If you can, make a mock-up of the product. Get the hot-glue out and make some models. Or sketch, even if you think it’s the worst sketch in the world. In some cases, your idea is so far out there it’s hard to communicate, or easy enough that you can grab a couple images from the internet and say, combine these three things and make it orange! This is your first prototype, and it’s just a concept one. Take your idea to your Product Developer and have them create concept artwork and possibly a physical conceptual prototype, if you have the budget.

Step 2 – Develop

  • You need an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) if you are going to ever think about getting a patent. Protecting your idea is important, even if you don’t patent. This is also the time, after you’ve gotten some concept artwork from your Product Developer, to think about involving a patent attorney, or at least getting a provisional patent, if it makes sense. Either way, a free consultation with a lawyer who’s singed an NDA will let you know what you should do. Your Product Developer should have at least one referral for you on this. It’s also worth your time for your developer to do a patent search now so you know if there are going to be hurdles that could stop your project.
  • Now it’s time to design your product. Taking your starting concepts, those should be expanded upon and developed into a product that meets your needs, follows your scope, and can be prototyped. This takes it from a rough idea (with possibly some pretty renderings that have no grounding in reality) to (usually) a 3D CAD model or other models closer to a tangible state. Some things, like soft-goods, usually don’t go into 3D, but have more accurate renderings created that show what the product will look like.
  • Once the design has been solidified to meet the requirements of the product, it’s time to get the first real prototype. Initial prototypes may not work completely the first time (in fact they rarely do) but this is where the idea becomes tangible and closer to its final form.

Step 3 – Validate

  • Using the first prototype, and others after it, we begin to validate the design. Does it work, how well does it work, where does it break, what do we like and not like about it? All of these questions are asked, the prototype is reviewed, and revisions are made. This can be the longest part of product development.
  • Testing can be done in many ways, and can include hiring outside testing companies. This also gives the opportunity to get certain stamps or approval markings, such as the UL rating for electronics. Those companies should be involved early on so changes are made earlier in the process to complete the certifications and tests needed for each product’s industry.
  • The last thing your Product Developer can put together is a panel test or survey. Paying people to review your product, under NDA of course, can give you some great outside feedback from people who are not invested in the idea, and haven’t watched the entire process. This type of input can be made at any stage of the process, though better results are usually had when there is a tangible and working prototype.

Step 4 – Produce

  • You have a final design, it’s been prototyped, validated, patented, the whole 9 yards. Now, the final design stage is here. Design for manufacturability takes your final design and makes all the tweaks and adjustments that are needed for full production. Often prototypes start out as  things that would be hard to mass manufacture, and costing is a huge portion of this. Your product developer will be looking for ways to make parts lighter, stronger, or use off the shelf components if that’s what is desired.
  • You have two options now, the first is getting funded. This is usually the next step as full manufacturing can be very expensive. Prototyping has the advantage of using advanced technologies such as 3D printing to accelerate and decrease costs. Full manufacturing usually costs thousands to millions of dollars, depending on how many units you need for a first run, and how complicated your product is. A fidget spinner didn’t take much to manufacture the first thousand units, but the iPhone cost millions of dollars and needed to have tens of thousands of units made in its first run.
  • The second option is licensing. Instead of trying to get an investor, or putting your own money into producing a product, you can look to sell your IP (Intellectual Property) to an interested 3rd party who maybe has an established business in your chosen market, and would rather buy the idea from you than spend the development time to create a new product. You as an individual working with a Product Developer is much more agile and cost effective than a huge company with massive overhead costs just to keep the lights on.

Step 5 – Profit

  • If you license, then you are done! Money has been made and you can set off on thinking of your next great idea! If you don’t license, the next big step to making money is marketing. While Product Developers usually don’t help from here on, the good ones have partners or referrals that they can send you to for developing your marketing strategy. Website, branding, logos, names, advertising, it all falls under this. Everything you brought to your Product Developer to bring the product to life you should bring to your marketers too. They’ll need to know the who, what, and why to provide you the best resources and chance of success.
  • There are lots of options for selling your product, from strictly Amazon, to selling at shows and conventions, or a local Saturday market. Between your marketer and Product Developer, you should have some options of who to talk to about which direction you should take.
  • Now it’s time to ship your product and have the money come in. Good job!

While it is very hard to guarantee that your product will be a wild success, I can promise that every successful product followed a path similar, if not exact, to what I’ve outlined here. Meeting with a good Product Developer is key to navigating, and possibly being able to skip over some of these steps, which means following the most efficient and cost-effective path possible.

22 Dec 2017

5 Things to Remember When Going Through Edits

So, you’ve got your initial design done, and now you want some changes made. What’s the best way to go about that? Did you discuss revisions and edits with your designer before you started? There is a lot to consider with edits, and defining what an edit is can be a difficult thing, especially when not clearly defined and both sides have a different idea of what an edit is. This list should help clear things up a bit, and help you when you are discussing edits with your product developer.

  1. What is an Edit? – An edit is defined as “a change or correction made as a result of editing” according to the dictionary. But what does it mean for you and your designer/developer? Once an initial design is created, it’s very common to need to make changes to the design to make sure every need has been met, to adjust for discovered issues, and that project scope (more here) has been correctly followed. At the Peterman Design Firm, we define an edit as a request from our client to make a change or adjustment to a current design.
  2. When Should You Edit? – At each review point. A good project plan has review points where the developer meets with you, the client, to review the project. These points are usually defined by the developer, but if there is a specific point where you want to review, then you need to make sure your designer or developer knows this, and can plan around your requirement. These should be specified in your Timeline and your Project Scope
  3. Avoid Over-The-Shoulder Editing. – The over-the-shoulder editing is something you should stay away from at all costs. It slows your developer down, costs more money, and does not allow your developer or designer to work in their space, which is where they are able to come up with the best ideas. I’ve known a few designers that could work with clients like this, however most loath it completely, and will sometimes even refuse to work with anyone who is like this. More about what you should avoid with your designer here.
  4. How Should You Edit? – It really depends on the developer, and both of your styles of communication which works best. For your own protection, and to make sure no edits are ever missed, red-lining drawings or presentations is the clearest and most effective method. It’s why engineering teams use red-lining exclusively when editing designs. Here we like to send a digital presentation or drawing set for our clients to review, red-line, then send it back and have a phone conversation to go over the edits if needed. Having edits in writing protects you as the client, because if an edit is missed, you can call it out and make sure your developer completes the edit before moving on, and it also gives you a reference to make sure you have talked with them about everything you wanted to when going over an edit.
  5. Edits are Almost Always Needed. – In my entire career of developing products over 15 years now, I’ve had two designs go to prototype without needing an edit. I’ve worked with hundreds of companies, and designed and developed thousands of individual parts. Edits and revisions are a part of the process, and the product development process is what takes your idea and turns it into a fully manufacturable production ready product.

 
Use edits to your advantage, they are like reset buttons. Each time you go through a review, it gives you the opportunity to adjust your products course and make sure it hits the mark. Think of it as getting to shoot an arrow, only if you notice half-way through the arrow going to the target that it won’t be a bulls-eye. Then you make an edit, and now it’s aimed closer to the center. Every time you review, you get the opportunity to find flaws in the design, and prevent future issues from arising before they become a real problem, such as going to manufacturing with a feature flaw you could have noticed early in the project. Edits are a tool, use them as such.

15 Dec 2017

7 Ways to Annoy Your Designer – and You

Most of my posts have been about what to do, what to bring, and what you should expect from your developer. Here, I’d like to go over a few things that you shouldn’t do with your designer, unless you don’t want to work with them of course. These can cause unneeded tension and issues in a project and your relationship with your developer.

  1. Over-The-Shoulder Work. – I know, you are really excited and want to be a part of the entire process and see the whole thing. Designers and developers don’t work this way, especially when highly creative solutions are needed. I’ve worked with several clients, and some jobs in my early career, where this style of “management” was provided. I now have a strict policy against this, and so does almost every designer I’ve ever met. It hampers creativity, slows us down, and honestly gets very annoying, none of which benefits you as the client. Think of having a backseat driver, it’s the same thing.
  2. Over-state Your Knowledge. – If you haven’t gone through the process of developing a new product, don’t say you have. The greatest developers are happy to work with the inexperienced, but we also aren’t a school. Tell us when you don’t know or understand things, it makes for a much less frustrating experience for both parties. We don’t expect you to know everything about product development, that’s why you hired us in the first place.
  3. Can’t You Just Photoshop it? – NO! I can’t just Photoshop a new vehicle design from that interesting building image you sent me. That request hasn’t happened yet, but I’m sure it will. This counts for anything tool specific. Unless you have experience designing with the specific tool and can do it yourself, then don’t assume that it’s just a quick thing you can throw together.
  4. Tell them “It Shouldn’t Take You Long”. – It’s good to have an idea of how long a project will take, but as the designer, it’s our job to know how long something should take given your requirements. But what about that job you got done last time that the designer said took only 20 minutes? It could have taken 3 hours, but maybe they wanted to sound impressive. Or maybe it took 20 minutes, but the reason you are talking to a new designer because the results wasn’t what you really wanted. It could have also required a completely different process to get a similar result. Product Development isn’t’ a simple process, otherwise there wouldn’t be specialists that only focus on Product Development.
  5. Expect Responses 24/7. – If you are paying someone to be on call, then go for it. Most designers don’t work this way. I’ve had clients in the past that seemingly did not sleep and expected everyone around them not to either. Great designers take time for themselves and don’t always respond immediately to a client. Prompt responses should always be given, but not at 3am. You want your designer to have a life outside of doing your work, it means they won’t burn out and they’ll still have amazing and creative solutions for you in 30 years.
  6. Change the Scope of Work. – Once a project is underway, the scope should not change unless you are prepared for a change in cost and time. Through the years I’ve had many clients try to change the scope part way through a project and expect no extra costs or time to be spent in making it happen. It disrupts things and causes problems everywhere, you can learn more on this post 9 Great Points on Scope Creep where I talk about keeping Scopes in line.
  7. We aren’t Fiverr. – If we were, you would have found us there. While you can get some design work, “$5 logo anyone?”, on Fiverr, it’s unrealistic to come to a product developer or designer with real experience based in the US and expect to get a super cheap price. If you need something that cheap, go overseas or find a desperate student who will do it for the “exposure”. Quality can’t be bought for cheap, and if it does, is it really quality anymore?

 
As a developer with years of experience, I can honestly say that some version of all of these have happened to me, and that almost every designer or developer I know won’t like any of these things happening. Smart developers and designers have found ways to avoid these issues while helping clients to get the best solution possible. Setting expectations in the beginning and being open and honest about what is needed and expected sets the tone for a successful relationship that will bring your idea into reality and make you money.

08 Dec 2017

5 Reasons You Need a Product Developer

If you’ve ever taken a product into production you’d agree there are many things that need to be taken care of. People who do this for a living are Product Developers. Most people are familiar with what an engineer is, some people know what an industrial designer is, but unless you have spent time in the product development world, you’ve probably never heard of a product developer as a single person. In the middle ground between design and engineering, there are a set of people who can take an idea and turn it into a product almost by themselves. When you are launching a new product (and especially if you have never been through the process before) you need one of these people on your team. You need someone who understands manufacturing requirements and engineering specifications. Someone who can talk to and help bring on engineers, designers, and other vendors. Product developers come from many backgrounds, and have all kinds of titles. Here are 5 reasons you need a Product Developer instead of just an engineer or industrial designer.

  • They can handle almost everything an engineer can, which saves you money and time, letting you only deal with one person.
  • It’s more cost and time effective for a business to hire a single Product Developer rather than put a team together themselves. Good Product Developers know when to bring on engineers and any specialists that might be needed for a project.
  • They understand the whole process of turning a concept into a product, not just a portion of the process. They can handle everything from concept generation to vendor selection and management.
  • Product Developers bring experience across many industries and job roles to be able to bring a product to life. The breadth of experience Product Developers have is what makes them Product Developers, not just an engineer or designer.
  • Great Product Developers have the connections to bring your product into reality. They know the manufacturers, prototype companies, patent lawyers, and other vendors an idea needs to become a manufactured product. Having a great team of experts available to your project is crucial to finishing your project on budget and in time.

When talking to designers and engineers, make sure that you find yourself a Product Developer. It’ll save you time, money, and put someone on your side that will help you navigate the world of bringing a product into reality.

01 Dec 2017

3 Things You Should Know About Designers & Engineers

When looking for help developing a new product, your first thought might have been to find an engineer or engineering firm, because everyone knows that engineers design and make things. Then there are those of you who thought you needed a designer and nothing else! I’ve witnessed arguments between designers and engineers, each claiming the supreme ability to create a product without the other. There are generalized statements that work most of the time about each.

  • Generally, engineers are more data and manufacturing focused. Looking pretty, aesthetics, usability, and user focus is not their area of expertise. Not to say there aren’t engineers who can, but their focus is not design, it is engineering.
  • Generally, industrial designers are focused on user experience, style, and brand. Costing, design for manufacturability, and working mechanics are not their specialty. There are industrial designers out there who can really see things as a manufacturer and understand all those processes, but most of the industrial designers you see with the cool portfolios are focused on sketches and renders that are considered concept work.

With that in mind, how do you choose, or really, should you have to? The answer is no. In the world between engineering and design are Product Developers. There is no degree for this, it comes only with years of experience on both sides of the coin bringing products from a concept to a manufacturable product. When you want to turn an idea into a product, you should really be looking for a Product Developer.

  • Product Developers can talk about manufacturing processes and stress loads, as well as talk about how a product elicits an emotion from a user. Their experience is usually broad, and they truly understand the entire process, concept to production, of a product, whether that product is a baby toy or an industrial laser.

You may find yourself asking the question, when do I need an engineer to do that scary math? Well, when you work with a good Product Developer, they can handle pretty much anything that doesn’t need analysis or an engineering stamp, which saves you the extra cost of having a certified engineer work on the project. If you get to a point where an engineer is needed, or a manufacturer should be brought in, a good Product Developer will tell you and help bring on the right people to get your product into production.

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